Sitting in San Francisco, US District Judge Jeffrey White ruled yesterday that DOMA, or the Defense of Marriage Act, is unconstitutional - and said a federal government employee should be allowed to enroll her same-sex partner in her employer provided health insurance plan.
Congress passed DOMA in 1996 and President Bill Clinton signed it into law. It prevents same-sex couples who are legally married in a handful of states, from enjoying more than 1,000 federal benefits awarded to heterosexual married couples.In his ruling on Wednesday, Judge White said that animus towards gays "is clearly present" in the legislative history of DOMA -and that the federal government has traditionally been reluctant to pass laws related to spousal relations.
"The Court finds that the passage of DOMA, rather than maintaining the status quo in the arena of domestic relations, stands in stark contrast to it," the Judge wrote.
White issued a permanent injunction preventing the government from further interfering in the plaintiff's ability to enroll her wife in the health insurance program.